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Pittsburgh, Part I

I left work early on Friday to get to Pittsburgh nice and early- College Roomie had made plans for us (her, Jason, her roomie and me) to go to a concert in the park on Friday night. My plane would get in with perfect timing to get there as it started. When I got to the airport, I tried to convince the booking attendent to switch me onto an earlier flight- that was a no go.

Everything was fine until the rain started. The other passengers and I waited, tense, watching it pound against the airplanes on the tarmac. We sat with bated breath until finally the red light flashed beside our flight number- delayed. And then we watched as they delayed our flight a second, third, and fourth time. No way I would get there before the concert, and I’d have to fend for myself for dinner. I approached the booking attendant’s stand again, and, eyeing the pizza-ice cream- fried fast food, questioned if they had anywhere that served lactose-free, gluten-free, vegetarian food. She eyed me for about five seconds before I rescinded my question and asked a new one: where was the bar?

I clicked my heels down to the bar, only to find that it was packed. Everyone’s flights were getting delayed, and I was lucky to find myself a place near the bar. I smiled at the two girls next to me, both blondes my age. I don’t remember how we came to the decision, but the three of us grabbed a table towards the back with three large pints of beer. The introduced themselves, we talked about jobs and families, boyfriends and “fun buddies”, as the one girl put it. They were amazing, and it was nice to find out that one, Megan, was on my flight.

We finished a few pints and then got another in a to-go cup to sip while waiting back in line. Standing in four inch heels in this new fangled airport line? It sucked. The blonde got onto the plane before me but saved me a seat. I slid in next to her, and another older woman slid in next to me. Megan and I finished our drinks and were both in a happy state, flirting with the flight attendant and convincing him to give us more drinks for free. So it’s safe to say that by the time I was waiting outside for  College Roomie to pick me up, I was sloshed.

“She’s in rare form,” College Roomie said as she introduced me to her roommate. I was- somehow I had also convinced the flight attendant to bring me tens of bags of peanuts, and I had opened each one. I’m going to be terribly afraid on the day that College Roomie decides to clean out the backseat of her car, only to find a stash of loose peanuts.

“I can’t wait for you to meet my best friend J,” she said. I was only listening half-heartedly at this point. She’d been trying to convince me that this guy was perfect for me, going so far as to send me pictures of him. I had to admit that he was adorable, but I just wasn’t in that state. She kept at it though- told me I’d meet him the next day at the barbeque she was throwing. When College Roomie and I climbed into bed together, she insisted again. “Just meet him, you’ll see.” I nodded obediently, mostly because the whiskey sours had made me sleepy. We crashed, whispering back and forth to each other just like we’d done back in college.

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A weekend in Pittsburgh=

Two broken toes
A skinned knee
A bee sting (stinger still stuck)
A back cut up from laying on rocks (story soon!)
A tooth chipped in half

I’m sure I’m going to need about three posts to sum up what was one of the best weekends in my life. But for now, the score is Pittsburgh: 5, Caitlyn: 0

Dear Caitlyn’s blog readers,

How you been? You’re looking well. Especially YOU. Love the hair.
It’s very… Janice from The Muppet Show. Mrrowwrr.

I’m Peter.

Because this is Caity’s blog, I am going to (sort of) write about the
type of thing that she would write about…

Relationships.

And NOT the type of thing that I would typically write about…

*cough* Anne Hathaway *cough*

Being from a small town, I have a unique view on relationships. If
you’ve never lived in a small town, then you don’t know. You just
don’t.

*Peter stares off into the distance.*

They say that “all’s fair in love and war.”

Well, the pursuit of love in a small town makes war look like a cake
walk with cloud slippers.

Or something.

If a woman even drives through my town, men start pouring out of doors
and windows everywhere. And, if one actually moves here…

Did you see MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME? With the futuristic anarchy
jumping off all over the place?

Yeah, it is nothing like that. But, that movies kicks ass, right?

Still, the dating scene in a small town isn’t, you know, good.

Shit is rough, is what I’m saying.

To make matters worse, I keep seeing the “Hot Local Women” ads on the
left side of the screen as I contemplate my next Scrabulous move on
Facebook.

There are times in life when you have taken all that you can take.
There are times in life when you suspect that you are just about at
your limit and anymore could tip the scale. And there are times in
life when you can probably take heaps more, but are kind of bored,
there is nothing on TV, and you just feel like bitching.

This is clearly one of these scenarios.

Now, I don’t want to say that the “Hot Local Women” ads on the left
side of the screen as I contemplate my next Scrabulous move on
Facebook are liars. I really don’t. But, I have lived here long
enough that I suspect that I would have noticed the veritable plethora
of scantily-clad and honey-limbed lovelies that they claim live
locally.

It’s true.

Granted, I am pretty self-absorbed, but still…

When I go to the post office, I almost never run into women in bikinis
who are putting their shoulders back and sticking out their chests.
Not even when stamps are on sale.

Stamps!

If they did live in my town, I’d likely follow them around as if they
were the Grateful Dead and start a moderately sketchy, yet somehow tax
exempt, church in their honor.

I have enough complaints about Scrabulous as it is, I didn’t need
anything else. This game already won’t let me play “zen,” which, as
you might guess, is not making me feel very Zen at all. And yet it
lets you play “za?” Come on!

Caitlyn recently beat me in a Scrabulous battle. It was a frustrating
game. I got nothing but 1 pt tiles, and never had less than 5 vowels
at any one time. And Caitlyn… had better luck. It’s like she
wills herself to receive good tiles. That chick is inscrutable. She
can’t be scruted.

Speaking of Caitlyn, I should mention that she is intelligent, sweet,
lovely, charming, a lover of animals, an athlete, a Democrat,
fragrant, effervescent, the inventor of TIVO, a huge sports fan, the
first female swimmer of the English channel, leggy, stylish, able to
cure rickets with her smile, well-read, driven and…

When she wins a bet on a game of Scrabulous, where the stakes are that
the loser has to write a blog post about how awesome the winner is,
well, she makes you pay up.

And now I am craving some “za.”

Mostly sincerely,

Peter DeWolf

I planned a nice little weekend getaway about a month back when College Roomie begged me to come visit her. College Roomie, I believe, is the luckiest girl in the world because she actually LIVES in the boathouse she coaches out of.

So College Roomie, being the Type A that she is, already planned out the whole weekend. Tomorrow I’ll be flying out straight after work (hello, tequila on plane, meet my four-inch heels and skirt). Another friend, Jason, is also flying in for the weekend. Jason, College Roomie, College Roomie’s new Roomie, and I will be spending our evening at the local park at a free concert eating a picnic dinner. Saturday is an early morning row, then a quick run, then a barbeque that College Roomie is hosting. The night will be topped off with barhopping. Sunday is a local fair, which again will most likely be followed by barhopping.

So, I’m leaving all of you dear readers with a photograph of a skyline, the song lyrics in the title, a hint that I was there this past fall and a hint that there is a GIANT pineapple statue by the river. I will also be leaving you in the very capable hands of my hilarious, wonderful, and generous friend, Peter, who promises not to screw up too much. Have a great weekend!

Today was, to say the least, a bit awkward in the office. I was in early, the partner in late, so I was busy talking with my boss about the fat-free brownies I had baked (no, really, and they are awesome) when he walked in. Sauntered, actually. Walked up behind me and flipped my pony tail.

The next four hours were excruciating, as he kept whistling the same song. Actually, it wasn’t even the whole song, but rather the same six-second clip of the chorus. Repeatedly. I started to joke that he needed to get a new song stuck in his head and he just smiled. No, really buddy. New song.

At lunchtime he again sauntered over to the computer I was working on and suggested we go get pizza. My stomach has not been liking the fact that I’ve been living off junk food, so I thanked him but said no. He persisted, I said no again. And then he made some off-handed joke about how anorexia was becoming a real problem. I really, really don’t understand how I missed all of this in the guy- how did I not see how annoying he was early on?

And the thing is, as Peter asked, he didn’t catch the hints. At the end of the day he asked if I wanted to get dinner tomorrow night. It went something like this:

Partner: So, I’m thinking [expensive local restaurant] for dinner tomorrow night. You in?
Caitlyn: Actually, I have dinner plans with some girlfriends.
Parter: Which ones?
Caitlyn: Caitlin and Rachel.
Partner: Wanna introduce me to them?
Caitlyn: Well it’s a girls’ night, really…
Partner: That’s ok, I can wear heels.
Caitlyn: …

The guy doesn’t know boundaries. I just want to make it clear that I’m not interested in him that way. It’s ok if we keep up the regular bit of going out occassionally after work, but I don’t want him to take it any further than that. I think I need a long, relaxing break from it. The fact that I will now have classes after work on the days we usually go to the bar will help- I have an excuse not to go. Plus I have weekend plans (including Pittsburgh this weekend!) for the next few weekends.

Let me start this by saying that I tried to take a commenter’s advice and go out with the guy without romantic feelings- try to get to know him better and then eventually figure out if it leads to that. After the movie the other night I really didn’t feel anything for him. I actually kept thinking about how I had loved going to see movies with Pete, unable to shake those thoughts from my head.

Fast forward to yesterday, where the guy had gotten me tickets to see the Phils. We were planning to meet up at the local train station, and I got there a bit early to buy us tickets. Now, what you should know about me is that I am hardly a girl about looks. In fact, I tend to be turned off by guys that are too good-looking. I prefer guys that aren’t always matching, haven’t always brushed their hair. This guy took on a whole new level: he showed up in a white polo shirt (ok…) tucked into cargo jean shorts (not ok), with slide sandals (getting worse), a backwards hat (rarely looks cute), and a fanny pack. No, seriously.

I don’t know how it went from getting along at work to utter aggravation outside the office. At the game, he insisted on leaning halfway into my seat to try to be close. I, on the other hand, was leaning halfway into the grandmother next to me. She understood- when the guy got up for a bit, she asked me what I was doing with him. “Looks like a bad first date to me,” she cooed. I shook my head, explained that we just worked in the same office. “I think he’s not catching that drift.” The father in front of us said the same thing, after the guy had offered him (a total stranger) some of his nachos stating loudly that he had expected to share them with me.

The guy got up to get napkins after spilling cheese sauce on himself, and the father in front of us turned around. “What are you doing with him?” he asked, his wife nodding in agreeance. I had no idea. I had even less of a clue when the guy came back toting a stuffed animal that he had bought me.

And the day probably would have been ok if the Phils had won, if Pat Burrell hadn’t played like hell all day. If, on the way home, the guy didn’t insist on coming over to my house. Luckily I had a brief interview that evening, which I told him I needed to prepare for. He said to call him after, that we would meet for dinner when I was done. I yawned and pleaded exhaustion.

I feel horrible, like I led him on. But I haven’t been flirting with him, and I was honest early on that I’ve been in a clear anti-dating phase. I just don’t know how to go about being in the office now, with him thinking we’re going to date and me thinking I need a break from him.

I am all sorts of confused right now about my current situation, even after spending all afternoon shopping with Briface and talking about it. Though I can say, shopping for Roberto Coin while drunk? Very satisfying.

I’ve mentioned before that we’re partnered at work. My partner is awesome, we get along great. He even thinks it’s cute that I hate babies, even if he doesn’t believe it. Along with the hours we spend at work together, we’ve also been hanging out a bunch after work. It started out with us just going to our local bar. Then last week we decided to get dinner after drinks, which we followed by shopping. I paid for drinks, he paid for dinner.

I think you see where this is going.

Right now I’m lying in bed in underwear and a tank top trying to figure out what I’m supposed to wear to go meet him at the movies tonight. We were at the bar when he propositioned meeting up for a late movie, and I drunkenly agreed. He then also told me to keep Sunday free- knowing my love of Pat the Bat, he got perfect left field tickets to Sunday’s game. For me. And him.

I’ve been very clear that I don’t want a relationship, he knows that I’m still hung up on some other guy. Now my verbal thought to Brian was that maybe the partner just wants someone to hang out with. Brian’s response: “Does he openly check out other girls around you, or his attention all on you?” I thought about that for a bit. Earlier, a girl in our building had given him the dog-looking-at-meat look, and I busted his chops for the next hour (or six) about it. He joked about going to find her, but eventually answered with, “nah, not my type.”

Then, at the bar this afternoon, we had a typical bartender. Now, for the sake of the story, don’t take this the wrong way if you’re a bartender. She had the pants cut too low, the shirt cut too high, evening makeup, and a tramp stamp heart on the back. Ultra skinny, moderately pretty. I know guys too well to be able to convince myself that his eyes didn’t linger for more than a once-over. When he and I made eye contact (and he saw my eyebrow raised) he said, “God, I really want to make her eat a burger. Or three.”

I definitely feel hesitant to even try to date, and I’m unsure of whether it’s because I’m just not ready or because I’m not into him.  So for now, this is just a movie between friends.

Doesn’t mean that I still have no idea what to wear.

There’s this Daniel Tosh skit that I love about how his friends all think they’re going to make good parents. His response is something like “Oh yeah? Cause you’re a pretty shitty person now.”

I have no expectations of wanting to have a baby or being a good mother. I am just not maternal- my cousin’s baby cried the second that he sat on my lap, despite the fact that he’d made his rounds to everyone else in the room. I know that if I were to have one, it’d end up something like this:

The incoming freshmen are really looking younger and younger
Baby Booze

So knowing this, I technically have no room to judge the way that other people raise their kids… but I will. You see, I had three cringe-worthy experiences yesterday from the time I left my desk at the office to the time I walked to my front step at home.

1.
At the train station I take to and from the city, there’s a train platform much like any other train platform in the country. There’s a clear foot or so of yellow paint marking the edge of the platform on either side and signs recommending you stay off of the yellow. I do the usual ignore-everyone-else technique of watching Lost on my Ipod while waiting for the train (is anyone else going crazy trying to figure out where they moved the island to? And when the polar bears are going to make another appearance?) About a minute or so after I planted myself on the platform, a mother came walking along with her kid, clearly walking along the yellow strip. I rolled my eyes and looked back down. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the kid’s feet go up into the air. My heart jerked for a second as I saw the kid in the air over the train tracks, and every part of my head was thinking back to the case files I’d seen all day of situations just like this. It took me a very long second to realize that the mother was still holding onto her kid by the arms. In fact, she was swinging him out over the tracks making airplane noises. Really? Really. I clearly invisioned the interview with her in the post-mortem newspaper article: “He always loved playing airplane, it was an accident. How could that train not have stopped?” And the thing was, everyone else was gaping at the stupidity of this woman. For one of the first times in the station I made eye contact with just about everyone around me, all of us wondering if this was a clear example of survival of the fittest coming into action.

2.
I got on the train and happened to run into my friend John, who loved that story. “Some people are just really, really stupid,” he said. I shook my head as I got into my car ten minutes later, which I’d left a the station the night before (another story, another time). It should have been a two minute drive home, but I got stopped a block from my house. Three kids were playing roller hockey in the street, and for a second I reminisced about my childhood of playing summer hockey in the street. We’d play until cars came, and then quickly roll out of the way. I snapped out of my dream when I realized that these kids weren’t moving at all, despite having looked up at me. I rolled down the window and got their attention. One kid gave me the finger, another told me to go around the block. I realized that this was nothing like my childhood at all. The two best parts? There is a park two houses down that has a giant basketball court in it, a much better location than the middle of a busy street. The other great addition to this story is that I decided to drive forward anyway- I did, afterall, have a line of cars behind me. When I did, their father jumped off the stoop, where he’d been sitting watching the whole action, and started yelling at me for endangering his kids. Are. You. Serious.

3.
I couldn’t believe the father, I really couldn’t. The park is clearly visible from where they were playing, and the fact that a middle-schooler had given me the finger when I’d politely asked them to move blew me away. I watched the father in my rear-view mirror trying to convince the line of cars that they should all turn around. Just as I turned the corner onto my street, a car coming to the stop sign caught my eye. The mother was driving the car with a baby on her lap, a la batshit Britney. No carseat, no seat belt. I’m no expert at child-rearing, nor do I ever hope to be, but really?

 

I wish I knew how to make those vote box thingies (I speak in only the most technical of terminology) so I could hold my very own Parent of the Year award and give out an award to the shittiest parenting I could find. Oh wait, someone already did that.

 

Momma Lohan accepting the Mother of the Year Award
from Long Island. Guess that there weren’t many entries.Lohan Mess

 

 

We have a joke around the office stemming from something in the CSI office: there’s an article on the notice board about street guns being painted to look like toys. They’re becoming prevalent for female members of gangs and the wives of NRA men. One of the guns in the notice was an AK-47 painted with Hello Kitty around the handle. Most of these guns are painted with duracoat paint, while others can be special order. Anyway, I was fascinated with these guns. One of the guys came over and jabbed me in the ribs. “See, you’re the kind of girl that would whip out a hot pink Glock and hit a dead eye.” Probably, and that really makes me want one now.

Hot Pink Glock

Yesterday my partner and I got to leave work a bit on the early side. We’d already finished prepping work for an agency (the one I want to work for!) and it was only three. When the elevator doors closed, my partner looked over with a sly look and said exactly what I’d been waiting to hear: “Wanna go shooting?”

I didn’t care that I was still wearing a pencil skirt with a blouse tucked in and four-inch heels. We went and grabbed his Glock .40, muffs and glasses and went to the range. His gun is gorgeous, very well cared for. It has a strong kick on it too, so he taught me a different hold and how to position for 15+ feet. Shooting already is hard, but shooting in a skirt and heels? Even harder.

Yesterday was one of those perfect Sundays, and it was the day where it snapped and made me realize it was summer. In middle school, summer always seemed to come so late and last so briefly; the scorching days where your legs stuck to the plastic seat at the desk didn’t count as summer, no matter what the calendar said. But yesterday was it.

I had gone for a run Saturday night, which was a horrible idea considering it was 89 degrees out at 10:30 p.m. Can you believe that? I tried to convince myself that it wouldn’t be horrible- after all I endured years of rowing and playing soccer in weather just as hot and humid. Even though I opted for a shorter run around the cute town that I live in, I was sweating. I know that sounds gross, sorry, but I was. I came back and gulped water, checked my phone and saw a text from Ian. He was in town, wanted to get breakfast in the city. There was also a voicemail from my boss- could I possibly stop by the office to do a very important task for him? He supplemented a few choice phrases, calling me his “whiz kid” and “best intern ever”, and any chance to get in the office works for me.

In the morning I threw on a cute outfit. We were, afterall, working with a major agency helping them prep for an operation. I wanted to look clean and put-together, so I put on a silk/cotton blend blouse and an a-line skirt with heels. The prep went fast, with the guys from the other agency and I joking around practically the whole time (they were trying to convince me to apply and interview with their agency, twist my arm a bit). I headed out with perfect timing to pick up Ian in the city.

When I got in, the weather was perfect. We went to local chain place that I love, both getting cinnamon raisin bagels with fruit cream cheese. Afterwards we walked around the art show in Rittenhouse. This guy was one of my favorites, though I’m not crazy about his non-dog pieces:

 

Ian and I drove back to my town and sat talking over coffees until his brother came to get him. I went back to my house to find Willa sprawled out in her baby pool in the back yard, asleep with her head on the edge of the rim. Perfect time for a text from Ella, asking me to come over for a swim.

Ella’s family not only has a gorgeous house, but they have a magazine-worthy backyard too. The majority of prom photos were taken there, and a friend of ours got engaged in that backyard (they had met there, and they also got married this past weekend with the after-reception party in her backyard). Ella’s backyard has a giant pool off to the side, with soft lounge chairs lining the side. I threw on my bikini and rushed over, making the trip a bit longer picking up a nice selection of beers.

It was a bit of a family party- Ella’s young cousins were there and we spent the first hour splashing in the water with them. Our friend Lauren and her boyfriend came over, and the hours drifted off intermittently switching between football, swimming, and lounging while listening to the Phillies game. Our only breaks were to drive and get salads for a late lunch, and then after Lauren and the boyfriend left Ella and I got water ice before climbing back in the pool for a volleyball game. We ended the day with a nice long soak in her hot tub, having a serious talk about relationships.  Doesn’t that sound perfect?

I honestly couldn’t have imagined a more perfect Sunday.